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Senior Member
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Are you "setting" the hook?
With a circle you want to let the line come tight then gently lift. A sharp hook set will pull it out of the fishes mouth.
 

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Young salt
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So... I've got a question guys... I just picked up a Tica reel with the "Hit and Run" (baitrunner) feature. I've been able to hook up with Gam octopus hooks like 100% of the time and haven't gut hooked yet. (knock on wood). So last night I tried using a circle hook. And I couldn't seem to get a good hook set at all. I've rigged up with a fishfinder, and #5/0 Owner circle hook, baited with sandworms. I'll cast out and flip the baitrunner lever (sometimes I'll spike it). Once I get the tappin', I'll bow to the fish and let it run with some line (3-5 seconds) before I lock down to my main drag setting. With a octo hook this practically a guaranteed set everytime, but not with a circle. Should I be doing something differently? I'd like to be using cirlce hooks as most of my fish are just barely legal lately and I'd hate to guthook one. Thanks for any wisdom any of you can impart.

-GotHooked
I agree with Sudsy here, ya dont wanna "set the hook" when using a circle hook. I float worms the majority of the time when fishing the beaches here in Maine and my hookup rate is substantially better than my buddy's, (who is a much more experienced angler than myself btw) who insists on using traditional J hooks. I usually dead stick, floating worms 2 at a time with a circle hook and 9 outta 10 times the fish hook themselves. If ur holding your rod in position, after ya feel the initial couple taps of a fish like Sudsy said, just raise the rod slightly to apply pressure and let the torque from the strength of the fish do the rest. The minute you try yanking back with a circle hook you'll most likely pull it right out of the fishes mouth.........leading to substantial swearing, pouting and possible temper tantrums. Good luck man, let me know when ur heading north, we can hook up and do some fishing. thumbsup.gif

StriperHyper ~ Will
 

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psuedo-NOOBIE
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75 Posts
hmm... maybe I didn't explain my technique well enough.

I'm using the baitrunner feature on my reel to allow the fish to go ahead and make a little run with the hook on very very little drag. After he runs for a few seconds (I'm guessing it's swimming away from me 'cuz it's taking line) I'll flip the lever on my reel to turn off the baitrunner drag and lock it into the reel's actual drag which allows me to reel this fish at the drag I've set for whatever # test line I'm using (currently 40# braid). If the fish is indeed swimming away from me, then the concept of the circle hook implies that when I put the brakes on the line, the hook should slip out of the fish's gut and set a nice corner hook. I thought about maybe just slowing the spool down with my hand and then flip the lever to avoid any sudden jerk that may resemble setting the hook. But then I wondered if that would provide enough force to actually hook through the lip. Granted I'm using either Gami or Owner hooks so they're pretty sharp. I dunno... maybe this sheds some light on my query.

-GotHooked
 

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First Mate
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654 Posts
GotHooked one other thing you need to make sure of with the circle hooks is the direction of your line going into the hook. If your using a leader and tying your own or even just tying on a circle hook you must make sure you line enters the eyelet the correct way, if you have it wrong then when you apply pressure it will or can make the hook pull away instead of pulling into the lip. The line should come out of the front of the hook-J or circle side.

If you are snelling your hook then here is a great video that shows an easy way to snell your hook. I have seen 3 or 4 different wys to snell and I think this is the easiest

Don't laugh and think I'm crazy. I could not count onall my didgits how many times I have seen hooks tied backwards I should add that this really only matters when snelling or using a dropper loop

Added: If you are using a Gama baitholder hook then the line come out the other way as the bend at the eye leans towards the front of the hook instead of back
 

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Official Member
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73 Posts
GH, this is my first season using circle hooks and after many lost fish, I'll tell you what seams to work for me now.

Hook - I like the 8/0 Gamagatsu circle with the inline eye. This is the type you don't snell as the eye is not bent. I tie the leader on with a uni-knot.

I let the fish run same as you are doing. I started out doing the exact same thing you describe - engage the drag and start reeling in. I lost way too many fish this way. Now, I engage the drag and set the hook. Not the same type of set as when using a J-hook - rather a very gentle lift the rod up type of set and then keep pressure on. Simply reeling in is not enough pressure, and a traditional let em have it hook set is too much.

One more thing. It's hard to hook the chunk on right. I try and make sure plenty of hook is showing. Not sure, but I suspect some of the lost fish were because not enough hook was exposed to actually bite into fish flesh.
 

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psuedo-NOOBIE
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75 Posts
Thanks for all the advice everybody. Jersey, the circle hooks I have been using all have bent eyes. So that when I snell them they come out the top straight with the shank. Should I stop snelling and tie on with a palomar? Newt, I'll have to give your method a shot next time I head out. So I flip the lever and then lift the rod a bit? All in one motion or in sequence? Sounds like it should work. I guess I'll just hafta experiment with some different techniques 'til I get it down.
 

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Senior Member
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3,471 Posts
Now, I engage the drag and set the hook. Not the same type of set as when using a J-hook - rather a very gentle lift the rod up type of set and then keep pressure on. Simply reeling in is not enough pressure, and a traditional let em have it hook set is too much.

One more thing. It's hard to hook the chunk on right. I try and make sure plenty of hook is showing. Not sure, but I suspect some of the lost fish were because not enough hook was exposed to actually bite into fish flesh.
Exactly the same way I do it.

And yes be sure the gap of the hook isn't filled - remember, yer not rearing back on the set so the hook isn't going to pull through the bait and into the fishes jaw. There has to be room for the point of the hook to snag the corner of the jawbone.
With bunker heads I've had much more circle hook success hooking the bait through the meat at the back of the head rather then up through the nose.
(just thinking out loud here) -I suspect that the fish swallows the head nose first which puts the hook in the perfect spot to do what it does when placed in the meat behind the head verses having to pull the head completely around to face the other way when the hook is through the nose.
 

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Senior Member
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10/0 Owners for chunking.
I'm flexible for clamming and generally use an 8/0 or 9/0 but I don't like circles that have an offset in the bend of the hook - like the Gami Octopus. I get too many gut hooks with those.
The red Penn brand circles are great as well, very strong, but you have to touch up the tip of the hook a tiny bit every few casts.
 

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psuedo-NOOBIE
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75 Posts
Newt and Sudsy, just wanted to thank you guys for the pointers. I got to go out tonight and do some field testing with the techniques you guys layed out. Three good hits tonight and three fish landed! I've found that I like thumbing the spool to slow it down and then give the rod that little lift that really nails 'em good. Nice solid corner hooks on all my fish tonight. 2 textbook releases and one came home with me. I fear circle hooks no more! :funky:
 

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Senior Member
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Here's something to keep in mind as well.
Circles are designed to work when the fish hits and turns away. Every now and then you get a night when a lot of the fish hit and come straight at you. You know, when you have to reel like hell before you can set the hook.
On nights like that you need J hooks
 
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